Aug 19, 2013, 8:33 PM EDT
Still, there are some interesting reasons why the new look/old look Avs might surprise a few people next season.
First time charm
For several seasons, coaches have made the jump from lower levels of hockey to have immediate success behind NHL benches. Some have carried that strong work over beyond their first season in the league (examples: Dan Bylsma and Bruce Boudreau) while others flamed out (Guy Boucher), but a fresh voice has often helped teams make sudden gains in the wins column.
Of course, those guys have usually been coming from the AHL, not the QMJHL like Patrick Roy.
If nothing else, Colorado seems to have nowhere to go but up.
For one thing, 2013’s disaster allowed the Avs to select first overall, nabbing a potential blue chip in Nathan MacKinnon.
Their offense might be closer to full strength due to better circumstances, too. Ryan O’Reilly won’t be mired in contract squabbles. Gabriel Landeskog (hopefully) won’t deal with troubling concussion issues. The team also landed a potential coup by trading David Jones for Alex Tanguay, who still might have some gas in the tank at 33.
That previous section represented a potential boon for the Avalanche offense, but if that’s not enough, elements of human nature could spur success.
For one thing, with new management in place, few jobs are truly safe. Even if it’s merely a short-term boost, one can assume that players want to get in the good graces of Roy and Joe Sakic.
Beyond that, some significant players are entering contract years. O’Reilly, Semyon Varlamov, Paul Stastny, Steve Downie and Jamie McGinn are among the noteworthy guys who have a lot of money to gain or lose this season.
Naturally, plenty can go wrong. That’s especially true for a team that hasn’t been a contender for many years.
Still, there are some appealing reasons for fans to hope that the Avalanche could become a dark horse candidate in 2013-14.
More Avs day fun
- Comeback fit for a King: Lundqvist, Rangers even series in Game 4 12
- WATCH LIVE: Rangers at Lightning, Game 4 of Eastern Conference Final 6
- Fetisov wants to restrict young Russians from playing in the NHL 38
- All eyes on Lundqvist 10
- Quenneville opted for ‘fresh legs’ by inserting Nordstrom, Versteeg into lineup 12
- Video: Ducks hold off Blackhawks in Game 3 to take series lead 30
- (Video) PHT Extra: On Babcock, sticking to the process and housebuilding analogies 3
- Babcock predicts ‘pain’ for Leafs, who are a ‘massive, massive challenge’ 39
- Babcock wants to ‘put Canada’s team back on the map’ 48
- Flyers won’t trade Del Zotto, but ‘something will have to give’ on crowded blue line 26
- Reports: Sabres thought they had a deal with Babcock, aren’t happy (172)
- Leafs land Babcock with reported 8-year deal, estimated at $50 million (130)
- Russia to be punished for ‘completely out of order’ actions after Worlds final loss to Canada (91)
- Report: Sabres negotiating with Babcock (82)
- What’s wrong with Lundqvist? (70)